Basking in the natural light of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery New York, 19 floors above the bustle of Fifth Avenue, lies Dutch artist and designer Aldo Bakker’s contemplative new solo exhibition, ‘Slow Motion’.

Aptly named, Bakker’s first exhibition at the gallery is a thought-provoking collection of sculptural pieces derived from poetic reinterpretations of furniture. While differing in scale, form and materiality, they reveal the designer’s urge for a slowed-down way of seeing. ‘We called it “Slow Motion”. We could’ve called it “Real Time”,’ Bakker reflects, and it is precisely this mindfulness – the journey it takes for the viewer to grasp the essence of Bakker’s work – that makes the exhibition, on view until 22 June, particularly enticing.

Aldo Bakker at carpenters workshop gallery
Aldo bakker at Carpenters Workshop gallery
Installation views of ’Slow Motion’ at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York

The first piece to greet the eye is the glistening red stool 4prts, dressed in the designer’s favoured material, Japanese Urushi lacquer. But the exhibition’s main draw is the way the pieces interact with each other and with the habitat. A series of low rounded forms (two Sitting Tables, three Weight Wait stools and two 4prts) are dispersed throughout the space and balanced by a series of long monolithic pieces like the stone Console Table, the Urushi Green Table and the grey quartzite low bench Long Lasting, all of which add a welcome horizontality to the exhibition’s dialogue.

But the ongoing conversation is mainly embodied in the relationship between the gold-plated silver pourer, Pivot, and the Urushi aluminium table, Flat Brown. Perched on a slanted shelf (Bakker’s way of showing that the lid is ‘hanging loose’), Pivot converses with Flat Brown. Both are set against the same warm yellow backdrop, both are supported by platforms of the same thickness, and Bakker mentions, ‘it wasn’t a long struggle’ for both pieces. Typically he can spend over a year developing a piece, letting ideas brew in the back of his mind until the time is right for them to ‘come through’.

Flat Brown square by Aldo Bakker
Aldo Bakker at Carpenters Workshop gallery New York
Detail of Flat Brown and installation view of ‘Slow Motion’ by Aldo Bakker at Carpenters Workshop Gallery

‘I mainly think about my pieces,’ Bakker says, ‘as long as I keep it in my mind, it stays flexible.’ Incidentally, ‘Slow Motion’ is also a reflection of the lengthy, meditative process behind each piece. Bakker’s partiality to Urushi (the application can take up to 30 layers, each left to dry for a day) is somewhat telling of his unhurried approach.

‘Slow Motion’ truly captures the designer’s instinctive attitude and creative integrity. Ultimately, Bakker says, ’Let’s think twice before we put something into the world.’ §

For a full profile on Aldo Bakker and his shape-shifting designs, see the May 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*242), on newsstands now